We love sandwiches! You can get endlessly creative, they are easy to pack and eat, but what about low FODMAP sandwiches?
Dun dun dun dun! We don’t mean to get too dramatic, but between choosing low FODMAP bread, condiments and the right kinds of fillings – be they deli meat, cheeses, veggie or otherwise (like peanut butter!) – crafting one appropriate for our diet can be downright daunting.
We have created the ultimate guide to making low FODMAP sandwiches – and there is more to choose from than you probably imagine.
- Let’s Talk Bread
- FAQs About Low FODMAP Sandwich Making
- Homemade Condiments, Spreads, Dips & Dressing
- Leftovers & Hot Sandwiches
- Classic Sandwiches Made Low FODMAP
- What About Wraps?
- Lettuce, Tomato & So Much More
- Pickles, Olives & Capers!
- The Takeaway
Let’s Talk Bread
While we might envelope a burger in a lettuce wrap, when it comes to sandwiches, we say, you gotta have bread! OK, we will expand this to include buns, biscuits, baguettes, English muffins and pita, or maybe low FODMAP naan (if you can find or make it), but the point is we need something bready on either side of the fillings.
The low FODMAP diet is neither gluten-free nor wheat free. There is much confusion about this, mostly because wheat, which is the basis for so many types of breads, also contains fructans, which are part of the “O” in FODMAP. One should be screened for celiac disease prior to embarking on the low FODMAP diet – it should be part of a thorough work-up during IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) diagnosis. Then, you will know definitively whether you need to steer clear of gluten (and wheat), or not.
This is a perfect time to read our article, How To Choose Low FODMAP Bread, to take a deeper look into which breads are suitable for celiacs, which contain gluten, and which are low FODMAP. Gluten-free does not necessarily equal low FODMAP!
The short story is that if you are celiac, or are gluten intolerant, you will want gluten-free breads. If you can tolerate gluten, then there are even more bread choices that you can enjoy, even while following the low FODMAP diet. One look at the Monash University smartphone app Food Guide and you will see everything from slices of conventional white bread, to spelt bread, to sourdough bread that are low FODMAP.
The Apps Can Be A Starter Guide For Choosing Low FODMAP Bread
While we do suggest that you use the app as a guide, as well as the FODMAP Friendly app, one thing to note is that many of the app entries leave out a lot of information. For instance, on the Monash University app you can view an entry that states “Gluten-Free White Bread” with a U.S. flag next to it. The entry says 2 slices (62 g) are Green Light low FODMAP.
If you live in the U.S. and have ever perused the gluten-free white bread options, you know that one brand does not equal another. A quick look shows Udi’s Gluten Free Delicious Soft White Sandwich Bread to be 86 g at 2 slices, and Canyon Bakehouse Mountain White is 68 g at 2 slices. Both of these are anecdotally said to be tolerated well by many FODMAPers, and the ingredients in the labels’ serving size amounts are considered low FODMAP. But, neither of these breads are apparently the one’s lab tested, as their weights vary from what Monash reports.
What flours, grains or starches are in the bread that was lab tested? Monash doesn’t say. Are they the same as the bread you are considering buying? No one knows. What we do know is that we can find “gluten-free” breads that contain high FODMAP or un-tested ingredients, such as bamboo fiber, pear juice concentrate, applesauce, inulin, honey, etc. So, the Monash app entry that says “Gluten-Free White Bread” is insufficient information if we are looking for a low FODMAP option.
This leaves you in a bit of a dilemma, and again, for more info, we suggest you read our article How To Choose Low FODMAP Bread.
Lab Tested Certified Low FODMAP Breads
Luckily, there are additional options! Take a look at the Monash University lab tested and certified section of the app and you will find many options, such as Schär breads. FODMAP Friendly has lab tested breads as well.
When you stick with lab tested and certified low FODMAP breads, the guesswork is taken out of the equation. The beauty of a low FODMAP certified product is that you will know for sure what portions you can eat.
Schär To The Rescue
Are you familiar with the Schär brand? (Read our Q&A for more info). They are leaders in the gluten-free bread field and, luckily for us FODMAPers, they have several Monash University lab tested and certified low FODMAP breads that will enhance your sandwich making. The beauty of a low FODMAP certified product is that you will know for sure what portions you can eat.
For sandwich making, consider the following Monash University Lab Tested Certified Low FODMAP breads available in the U.S.:
- Schär Deli Style Sourdough Bread – featuring buckwheat, rice, and sorghum flour
- Schär Deli Style Seeded Sourdough Bread – flavor packed with rice, buckwheat, millet, sunflower seeds and chia seeds.
- Schär Ciabatta Rolls – a great oblong shape, perfect for our Italian Sub
- Schär Multigrain Ciabatta – similar to the above, but fiber-rich with ancient grains and seeds
- Schär Sandwich Rolls – use these when you want a simple white roll
- Schär Baguette – we use this baguette all the time! Try it with our Pan Bagnat
- Inewa 100% Spelt Sourdough Bread
- COBS LowFOD Bread Loaf
For a complete, global list of breads that are low FODMAP, please refer to both the Monash University and FODMAP Friendly apps.
FAQs About Low FODMAP Sandwich Making
They can be, but you have to read labels and ask questions. Now would be a perfect time to brush up on label reading in general, and also about what natural flavors and “spices” mean on ingredient labels.
The short story is that anything that is in quantities of 2% or less (some ingredient labels will state this), even if it is a high FODMAP ingredient such as garlic, is unlikely to trigger symptoms. Of course, your individual tolerance may vary; always eat to your tolerances, which you will determine by going through a structured Elimination and Challenge Phase.
Some supermarket chains, delis or butcher shops roast their own beef and turkey and oftentimes these are good choices – but always ask about ingredients.
For a more complete listing of deli meats, poultry and fish products, please do check out our Shopping Lists. MANY more products are listed.
Here is a brief list of some deli meats that we love:
· Applegate Uncured Slow Cooked Ham
· Applegate Smoked Chicken Breast
· Applegate Oven Roasted Chicken Breast
· Applegate Smoked Turkey Breast
· Applegate Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
· Applegate Roast Beef
· Butterball Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
· Eckrich Deli Bologna
· Farmland Hickory Smoked Ham
· Great Value Oven Roasted Chicken Breast
· Greenfield Natural Meat Co. Fully Cooked Uncured Sliced Smoked Ham
· Hillshire Farms Farm Classics Hickory Smoked Ham
· Hillshire Farms Ultra-Thin Sliced Lower Sodium Smoked Ham
· Hormel Cure 81 Classic Dinner Ham
· Hormel Natural Choice Smoked Deli Turkey
· Hormel Natural Choice Smoked Deli Ham
· Hormel Natural Choice Rotisserie Style Deli Chicken Breast
· Hormel Natural Choice Oven Roasted Deli Turkey
· JENNIE-O Extra Lean Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
· JENNIE-O Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast
· JENNIE-O Applewood Smoked Chicken
· JENNIE-O Oven Roasted Chicken Breast
· Land O Frost Premium Old Fashioned Cooked Ham
· Land O Frost Premium Natural Hickory Smoked Ham
· La Quercia Ridgetop Prosciutto
· Oscar Mayer Carving Board Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
· Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Smoked Turkey Breast
· Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Smoked Uncured Ham
· Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Mesquite Smoked Turkey Breast
· Oscar Mayer Natural Slow Roasted Chicken Breast
· Oscar Mayer Oven Roasted White Turkey
The low FODMAP diet is lower in lactose, but it is not dairy-free. It comes as a happy surprise to those beginning the diet that many cheeses have generous low FODMAP serving sizes. We have a whole article for you, Is Cheese Low FODMAP?
In brief, you can have cheddar, Swiss, Monterey jack, pepper jack, and many of your sandwich favorites.
You can have mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish, and many other condiments that you might want to use on your sandwich. Just as with the deli meats discussed above, you need to read labels and familiarize yourself with the Monash University and FODMAP Friendly smartphone apps, as they have both generic listings of lab tested products, as well as brand named items.
Please note – in the world of condiments you will often see high FODMAP ingredients like garlic, onion or high fructose syrup in products that DO HAVE low FODMAP serving sizes. The diet is very portion dependent. 13 grams of ketchup that contains high fructose syrup is low FODMAP, but it becomes Moderate for FODMAPs at 19 g and high FODMAP at 26 g, for instance.
Please refer to our article, The Ultimate Guide To Low FODMAP Condiments for more info.
Homemade Condiments, Spreads, Dips & Dressing
In addition to purchased condiments, don’t overlook homemade sauces, pestos, dressings and dips that you can make at home that are amazing drizzled over, or slather on a sandwich, such as:
- Lactose-Free Sour Cream Horseradish Sauce
- Russian Dressing
- Vegan Green Goddess Dressing
- Green Goddess Dressing
- Ranch Dressing
- Cranberry Sauce – we have MANY
- Low FODMAP Aioli
- Blue Cheese Dressing & Dip
- BBQ Sauces – we have Pineapple Whiskey, Maple Blackberry, Sweet & Sticky and several more.
- Pesto – choose from classic Basil, Kale Pesto, even one based on Parsley
- Vinaigrettes – never thought of drizzling vinaigrette on a sandwich? Try it! We happen to love our Red Wine Vinaigrette and Balsamic Vinaigrette for this application.
- Salsas – we have traditional tomato based for you, as well as Salsa Verde, and others
- Chutneys – how about Blackberry Peach Chutney, or Spiced Rhubarb?
- Mostarda – this is a tangy combo of sweet and sour, featuring miso and raisins.
Any of these are fantastic on a sandwich and can elevate a plain one to truly memorable.
Leftovers & Hot Sandwiches
We would be remiss if we neglected to discuss using leftovers – and also hot sandwiches, both of which are in classes unto themselves.
Low FODMAP Leftover Sandwiches
Here are some of our recipes that make fantastic sandwiches, utilizing leftovers. I mean, meatloaf for dinner is serious comfort food, but a meatloaf sandwich the next day rivals the fresh version. We will make some combo suggestions, but of course, you can use the leftovers any way you like.
- Everyday Meatloaf – try it with Schär Deli Style Sourdough Bread, your choice of low FODMAP BBQ Sauce, lettuce and tomato
- Turkey Meatloaf – sandwich it between Schär Deli Style Seeded Bread with Russian Dressing and crisp lettuce or sprouts
- Orange Rosemary Roast Chicken – so versatile! Make a low FODMAP chicken salad, or load up a Schär Ciabatta Rolls with cranberry sauce and low FODMAP vegetables of your choice
- Ridiculously Easy Roast Beef – Schär Sandwich Rolls are perfect for a roast beef sandwich with Lactose-Free Sour Cream Horseradish Sauce
Low FODMAP Hot Sandwiches
- Grilled Cheese – there are so many ways to make grilled cheese. Try Schär Deli Style Sourdough Bread with Gruyere, tomato and a schmear of mustard.
- Roast Beef Au Jus – make sure you have lots of low FODMAP pan drippings to dip your sandwich into. Try stuffing the roast beef and some Swiss cheese into a Schär Baguette
- Pulled Pork – we have several shredded pork recipes, including ones using the slow cooker. Layer up on a roll with slaw.
- Meatball – you can make a hot sub sandwich – or do you call it a grinder? Hoagie? Hero? Torpedo? Submarine? Start with the right bread, such as Schär Ciabatta Rolls, then choose your meatball and sauce; we have classic and turkey.
- BLT – make these when tomatoes are at their best! Use big, juicy beefsteak tomatoes cut crosswise, and we are partial to thick(er) cut bacon and either tender green leaf lettuce or crunchy Romaine. Mayonnaise is a perfect condiment to add. A simple white sandwich bread highlights the BLT flavors.
- Turkey & Swiss Sandwich – a classic! Try on Schär Deli Style Seeded Bread with Russian Dressing. Make it like a panini or grilled cheese.
- Breakfast Egg Sandwich – you could start with a biscuit (how about our Scallion Cheese Biscuits?), add breakfast sausage and egg – either omelet style or over easy.
Classic Sandwiches Made Low FODMAP
When you think of sandwiches, where does your mind go? PB&J? Ham and cheese? Tuna fish salad or egg salad sandwich? The great news is that all of these can be low FODMAP. Let’s take a look:
Monash and FODMAP Friendly have both lab tested peanut butter. Monash suggests a low FODMAP serving size of 2 Australian tablespoons. FODMAP Friendly gives peanut butter a “Pass” at 2 tablespoons (50 g), but also states a Max Serve at 6.86 ounces or 192.05 g.
It is also important to note that Monash has said peanuts themselves have only trace amounts of FODMAPs and they say that peanut butter only becomes Moderate for fructose at 140 g. If you mal-absorb fructose, it might be an issue; for others it might be tolerated very well. Almond butter also has low FODMAP serving sizes, FYI, of 1 Australian tablespoon (20 g) per Monash and a max serve per FODMAP Friendly of 38.26g.
Jam & Jelly
Monash and FODMAP Friendly have both lab tested a few jams and jellies. Please refer to the apps for specifics but know that if you want to make a classic PB&J that you can reach for the strawberry jam! Odd as it might seem, I happen to love orange marmalade with my peanut butter, and luckily that too has a low FODMAP serving size.
Most sandwiches can be made as an open-faced style. Avocado toast is a perfect example, but also how about some smoked fish?
The deli classic can be low FODMAP. Make our Low FODMAP Corned Beef and our Russian Dressing, use Schär Deli Style Seeded Bread and grab some Swiss cheese and sauerkraut (Monash says 1 tablespoon is low FODMAP; you might tolerate more). Cook on a grill and chow down!
We have an entire article for you on hams, and as shown above in the deli-meats section, you can indeed find low FODMAP ham. Cheeses have also been addressed above.
We actually have a lot to say about tuna, and you can read more in our article, All About Canned Tuna & The Low FODMAP Diet. One key takeaway is that some “water” packed tuna is actually packed in a water-based broth that contains FODMAPs. The article explains more.
We have a recipe for you for Low FODMAP Tuna Salad. You can have some celery – and we actually love using cucumber or bok choy for crunch, too. A community member developed a recipe for a Cajun Tuna Salad for us that we think you will like, and speaking of tuna, make a Tuna Melt or try our Tuna Bagnat (the BEST do-ahead sandwich EVER; shown above).
Eggs are low FODMAP. Mayo is low FODMAP. There are low FODMAP amounts of celery. Make yourself egg salad! We like a little Dijon mustard in there too, and lots of black pepper. We also have directions for making Perfect Hardboiled Eggs, in case you need a primer.
What About Wraps?
Sometimes we want a wrap, instead of using bread. Most conventional wrap-style sandwiches are made with wheat-based tortillas, and they are on the whole, much more flexible than gluten-free counterparts. Luckily Monash University has lab tested wheat-based tortillas and a 35 g tortilla is low FODMAP. Unfortunately, this size wrap tends to be “taco” size, which is quite small.
Perhaps you do well with wheat, and you have already passed your fructan Challenge? As always, eat to your tolerances. BTW the burrito size wraps, which are better for a lunch serving of a sandwich wrap, are about double that taco tortilla in size and weight.
There are low FODMAP gluten-free tortillas available, most based on rice flour. Brands vary as to how best to work with them, and we suggest you experiment. To make them pliable and easier to work with, try heating gently in a dry pan on the stovetop. Others soften more readily if wrapped in a damp paper towel and microwaved briefly. Most do not wrap/roll well if used straight out of the refrigerator; they will crack.
Read labels and watch out for high FODMAP ingredients in tortillas such as inulin, soy flour, cauliflower and large amounts of sweet potato.
Here are some of our favorite low FODMAP tortillas!
Lettuce, Tomato & So Much More
We like texture in our sandwiches and vegetables are a great way to add crunch and juicy layers. Lettuce and tomato are obvious choices, but there are many additional veggies to try. Check out this list – and of course, take Stacking into consideration when picking and choosing and using a few, or several.
Here are some low FODMAP vegetable choices:
- Butter lettuce
- Chicory leaves
- Green or red leaf lettuce
- Iceberg lettuce
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Mung bean sprouts
- Common tomato
- Roma/Plum tomato
- Shredded carrots
- Red and green cabbage; try any of our slaws!
- Celery – in small amounts
And let’s not overlook cooked vegetables – especially grilled or roasted make fantastic sandwich additions, such as:
- Yellow summer squash (lab tested by FODMAP Friendly)
- Sautéed mushrooms – especially oyster mushrooms. Check your apps!
Pickles, Olives & Capers!
We have to address pickles. I grew up in New York City on the lower east side and if you ordered a sandwich at a deli, you got a pickle – no matter what! Tucked right in there, within the paper wrapper folds, along with your sandwich. But are pickles low FODMAP?
Some are. As mentioned before, we have some specific brands mentioned in our Shopping Lists. You have to read labels. Look for garlic in particular, however if it is listed as less than 2% on the label, you could try the pickles. Even high FODMAP ingredients in amounts of 2% or less are unlikely to trigger IBS symptoms.
Monash has lab tested cornichon and 10 (28 g) are a low FODMAP serving size!
The process of pickling allows fructans, which are water soluble, to leach into the pickle liquid, away from the vegetable. There are low FODMAP serving sizes of pickled beets and even pickled onions! Use your apps for specifics.
Black and green olives have low FODMAP serving sizes, and so do capers and pickled jalapenos. Chop or slice them and layer up on your sandwich for a punch of flavor.
You can make spectacular low FODMAP sandwiches! Once you choose your components, it is quite straightforward. It all starts with bread – and choosing bread that is lab tested and certified low FODMAP by either Monash University or FODMAP Friendly guarantees that the bread is appropriate for the Elimination Phase (and beyond) at the suggested serving size. Schar has many choices, from rolls, to sandwich bread, baguettes and more.
Brush up on your label reading and stacking skills, then choose your fillings and condiments and make your sandwich! Then all you have to decide is whether you are a “cut-the-sandwich crosswise” kind of person, or a “cut-on-the-diagonal” sort!